State of The Union Speech

Well, anyone who listened to the president’s State of The Union address tonight will understand a couple of basic things about what the president wants. He called for:

  • Higher taxes
  • More spending
  • More gun control
  • More government regulation

So, in other words, a larger, more intrusive government. He doesn’t believe we can cut our way to prosperity, meaning governments cuts, so that must mean he believes government can spend us into prosperity. The problem is, this is the first thing the president tried after taking office in 2009. If nearly a trillion dollars in new spending doesn’t bring about economic utopia, nothing will.

The president likes to call his proposed spending binges “investments.” He wants to invest in roads, bridges, high speed rail, high speed internet, education, and a whole slew of other items. Despite the fact the federal government does not teach a single student, hire a single teacher, policeman, or fireman, the president thinks that the federal government needs to insure there are more of all of the above.

But is government spending really an investment? How can it be when government is required to take money out of the economy in order to spend? I’ve never seen a president so ready and willing to ignore the constitution in order to achieve his goals. A case in point is his promise to act without Congress if it will not take up the issue of global warming this year. So, he is willing to go around the lawmakers to create and enforce rules of his own making? That’s a radical threat, and one the president has shown he is quite willing to make good on.

The problem of course is that, while he may be able to create some short term initiatives, in the long term everything he tries to do will be nullified by the courts. He’ll try to use his departments to create political pressure, but business will be quite willing to take him to court, and they’ll win.

Rubio’s response to the president was actually very elegant and effective, except for a weird slurping sound that seemed to come from him every couple of minutes, leading up to an impromptu sip of water in front of the American people. It created a dissonance in what was, in every other way, a very effective answer to the president’s speech tonight. I think one of Rubio’s most effective points was reminding Americans that immigrants often come to this country because they are fleeing nation’s where large and intrusive government has made a complete mess of their economies.

Finally, on the issue of the sequester. The president was exactly right in declaring that the sequester would result in massive cuts to government spending. He did not, however, mention it was his idea in the first place.

And it goes to the fact that, while the president sincerely believes that government can do good and make a positive difference for Americans (it can), it can also do great harm to the country. Government, within it’s constitutionally defined role, can be a blessing. But an all-powerful government is a curse, not a blessing. The preamble to the US Constitution says this:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It was not the government of the United States that made this declaration. The government did not establish itself but was itself established by the people. It is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. This is not a nation where government is central in our lives, but politicians, especially liberal politicians, believe sincerely that it is.

First, the government must serve the people. Second, the government must, in some ways, follow the Hippocratic Oath which states, “first, do no harm.” John McCain once pointed out that ever law passed by Congress has both intended and unintended consequences. It is those unintended consequences which have the greatest potential in harming the nation. That, and a government which believes it must set America’s priorities.

No Mr. President, you must understand and follow America’s priorities, not set them. But this is not something I believe our current president will ever really understand. Thus we have many problems with high unemployment and an economy that continues to teeter with the vast uncertainty created by an overreaching government. With Obamacare getting ready to go into full effect this October, things are about to get worse.